Beijing is so dry, you’ll see people standing beside humidifiers rubbing mist on their faces. So while Guangzhou, in the south, may be best known for its adjacency to the Special Economic Zones, the first areas permeated by capitalism with Chinese characteristics, we were loving the jungle plants & moisture.
Although Ethan, playing with a 2-foot wide leaf straight out of Jurassic Park, had an allergic reaction where all his skin began itching badly. Luckily, mom’s purse contains antihistamines–that’s why they call it ‘the ambulance.’
My host from the J-school, which offers courses in international reporting and multimedia, was incredibly gracious. About 300 students came to hear about Writing Better and the U.S. Media Crisis. Two questions from the Q&A (I paraphrase): “How can we get the government to stop controlling the media?” and “How will your government’s control of the media affect this year’s U.S. presidential elections?”
We squeezed in a bit of tourism, though the traffic was so bad we didn’t do much. It’s a giant city of about 13 million, home to the world’s tallest structure, a radio tower. The exhibition center was bigger than an airport. It has some pretty leftovers from the foreign occupiers and is said to have a strong international influence but it struck us as a very typical modern Chinese megalopolis…in the jungle.
Fantastic spending time with fellow Fulbrighter (art historian and Americanist) Amy Werbel and Fred Lane, and young Graham (fluent Mandarin speaker). They helped us reflect on how our perceptions of China, and we, have changed this year, and what Chinese habits we might like to adopt. Taking up less space…napping instead of caffeinating…lowering the volume of family – uh – discussions.
More on that soon.